Updated: May 29
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It's easy to gain weight while you're traveling. You're most likely eating out more often and drinking more alcohol, juice, and soda than usual. It's also easier to get dehydrated while traveling, which can cause your body to retain water, which may make it look like you gained a few extra pounds.
I used to gain weight on almost every trip I took and it drove me nuts. I have hypothyroidism so it's very easy for me to gain weight even when I'm just living my regular life at home. So when you add the stress, dehydration, and change in eating and exercise habits, it's a recipe for weight gain.
And for someone actively trying to lose weight or at least maintain, that's frustrating. So here are a few things I try to stay aware of to help me stay on my path:
Make Sure You're Getting Enough Exercise
Vacations are meant for relaxation, but too much relaxation isn't healthy either. Find a good balance by working some active excursions into your itinerary. Go kayaking in the ocean or even just go shopping for a few hours. (Yes, shopping is cardio.)
You can also workout in your hotel's gym or fitness center. Not every hotel has one, but most do. It's usually just a treadmill, a few ellipticals, a bench, some dumbbells, medicine balls - all the basics. Unless you're staying at a luxury hotel or a resort, which in case the gym will be much nicer. But either one will get the job done!
If you're staying on or near the beach, you could get a morning run in on the sand or on the boardwalk. If you're not one for running, consider biking, skating, or roller blading.
There's smaller things you can do to ensure you get enough exercise as well. Like choosing to walk up the stairs instead of taking the elevator. If you have a fitbit, you can try to count your steps throughout the day.
Remember that rest and relaxation are a very important part of fitness too. Always aim for balance.
Watch What You Eat
Be mindful about what your body needs. I'm a huge supporter of trying new foods, especially when you travel. Just make sure you're keeping a balanced diet. If you know you'll be eating a huge dinner, maybe have a smaller portion for lunch. Try to make at least one (hopefully two and ideally three) of your three meals a day healthy.
Remember that the end result is the outcome of a series of small decisions. If you want to feel energized, awake, and focused, you'll have to make decisions that lend to that reality. Meaning when it comes to choosing crispy or grilled, choose grilled. When you're choosing between fries and a fruit cup, choose a fruit cup. Always choose water over soda.
Drink Enough Water
Water is always an important part of fitness, but especially when you travel. Traveling is inherently stressful (SO MANY LATE FEES), so your body will need more water to compensate for the stress.
Whether you're an active traveler and you find yourself hiking, or a semi-active traveler and you find yourself shopping, you need to stay mindful of your water intake. Heat and sun also play a role in how much water you should be drinking.
Get a Nationwide Gym Membership
Gyms like Planet Fitness are great for travelers. When you're traveling domestically, you'll have a gym in most places. And should you choose to live in your van, or go on a very long roadtrip, you also have a place to shower! The YMCA is another gym like this with multiple nationwide locations.
Buy pre-packaged fruits and vegetables from Walmart, Kroger, Publix, etc.
Within the last few years, grocery stores have started to pre-package fruits and vegetables, which is insanely convenient - especially during road trips. Instead of pulling into the Mcdonald's Drive-thru, stop by your grocery store for healthy food. It takes the same amount of time, if not less.
Workout and Yoga Videos on Youtube
Get an at-home (or in this case: in-hotel) workout with no equipment and no weights on Youtube. There are plenty of fitness channels so you can choose what works best for you. There's instructional videos on bodyweight lifting videos, yoga, pilates, barre, belly dancing... pretty much anything and everything fitness. Use your phone, tablet, or laptop to watch and follow along in your room.
Find What Works For You
I like to stay healthy by doing yoga in the mornings and a small workout before bed, or quick in the morning, depending on what the day looks like. I usually choose to eat a large breakfast, a small healthy lunch, and a balanced dinner. I try to schedule enough active excursions that I don't feel the need to run or lift weights while I'm on vacation. I'm someone who likes to enjoy where I am, so I try to spend the least amount of time worrying about staying fit. But I know it's very important, so I make a bunch of little good decisions.
About the Author:
I'm Anna Mills - a travel agent, blogger, and author of the book "100 Ways to Make Travel More Affordable". I have been a guest on the Trip Sister's Podcast and TripScout's Roadtrip Expert Panel. You may have seen me in Texas Lifestyle Magazine, Opploans.com, or as a Rising Star for Travel Market Report.